Obverse - 2

Obverse - 2

Obverse - 3

Obverse - 3

Obverse - 4

Obverse - 4




Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Artillery Guidon.

Sub-collection: Crow Art Partnership Collection

A significant post-Civil War Light artillery Guidon from Battery A, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.
This small sewn silk guidon is painted with the designation for Battery A, of the 1st Battalion of Field Artillery of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (MVM), the post Civil War incarnation of the organized militia of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

At the commencement of the American Civil War, light artillery batteries often utilized a cavalry-style red over white guidons; see ZFC0411, the Light Artillery Battery Guidon of Sands' (11th) Ohio Battery. After 1862 it was more common for these batteries to use the Stars and Stripes guidons prescribed for the mounted arm, see ZFC0409.

When the war ended in 1865 the various state volunteer forces were disbanded after being mustered out of federal service. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the forces remaining under commonwealth control were rebuilt and reorganized into the MVM. Within several years, the MVM had a strength of 5,500 men and was made up of four separate battalions and seven regiments assigned to two brigades. Battery A of the 1st Battalion of Field Artillery was from Boston.

In 1879 the commonwealth published regulations for the MVM. Included in this volume were the descriptions of guidons for both cavalry and light artillery. It is interesting to note that the MVM cavalry continued to carry the Stars and Stripes guidons, while the batteries of light artillery were specified a red over white guidon similar to those of the 1833 to 1862 era. This was six years before the reintroduction of the red over white guidons for the US Cavalry in 1885.

Massachusetts field artillery guidons were defaced with the artillery's crossed cannon insignia, marked with the company letter on a blue band encircling the insignia and, atypically for guidons, heavy fringing. This example follows the 1879 regulations in all respects except its smaller size. The reasons for a smaller than regulation size and the missing fringe along the top red edge remain lost to history. It remains a significant flag, however, because it demonstrates the continued popularity and use of red over white guidons during the inter-war period.

Exhibition History:
Crow Art Partnership, Dallas Texas; where it was incorrectly displayed as a Maine Artillery Guidon.

• Battery A, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Guidon of Independent Battery A, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia 1879 - 1890.
• Acquired by Richard H. Keller who sold it to the Crow Art Partnership Collection on 4/25/85
• Acquired at auction from the Crow Art Partnership Collection, Dallas, Texas, via Heritage Auction Inc., at the 24 June 2007, Civil War Grand Format Auction, in Gettysburg, PA.

ZFC Significant Flag
Item is Framed


Howard Madaus Letter of Authenticity to Heritage Auction Galleries, 22 June 2007, Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.

Madaus, Howard M.- Whitney Smith, The American Flag: Two Centuries of Concord and Conflict, VZ Publications, Santa Cruz, 2006.

Adjutant-General's Department, Regulations for the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Boston, Rand, Avery & Co., 1879.

Army National Guard History, Massachusetts National Guard, 30 November 2011, from:.

Massachusetts State Defense Force, Wikipedia, 30 November 2011, from:

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection
Heritage Auctions, Inc

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 16.5
Length of Fly 18.25


Width of 1st Stripe 8
Width of 3rd Stripe 8
Width of Last Stripe 8.5


Is it framed? yes
Frame Height 27
Frame Length 28


Are there stars on obverse? no
Are there stars on reverse? no


Number of Stripes 2
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe White
Has a Blood Stripe? no


Description of Crest/Emblem Artillery Insignia


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Silk


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Flag is used, worn, soiled, contains fabric splits as well as some fringe is missing along top of fly edge.
Displayable yes


Date 1879


Exhibition Copy Crow Art Partnership, Dallas Texas
Displayed as:
"ARTILLERY GUIDON, Maine Volunteer Militia, 1861"
[NB: This is not from Maine but rather Massachusetts.]